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Buckboard bacon - How much cure to use if it has 0.8 percent nitrite?

Discussion in 'Bacon' started by hkeiner, Feb 2, 2011.

  1. This will be my first attempt to make buckboard bacon. I tried to get some Morton's Tender Quick or Hi-Mountain cure locally but I was not able to find it. I did find a local restaurant supply shop that sold a local brand of cure which contains 0.8% nitrate (Oops. I should have said nitrite). The salesman said that this would be OK to use instead of TQ for making buckboard bacon and the the proper dose rate for using it as a dry cure on butt was "1 tablespoon per 5 lbs of meat." He told me this verbally and did not have any written instructions showing that this as the correct dose rate for dry cure. He said that their customers (restaurants and such) use their cure for injecting large quantities of meat  and that they know how to use it for that method without needing written instructions (which requires a different dose rate and application method anyways and would not be relevant).

    Anyway, I thought I would get some opinions of whether I am OK with using this product for buckboard and that the salesman's recommended dose rate for dry cure seems OK. I ask because I did note that Tender Quick (which has 0.5% nitrate and 0.5% nitrite) recommends "1 tablespoon per 1 lb of meat" which is five times as much per lb.

    Any opinions on this?

    Click on picture to see larger size:

    Last edited: Feb 3, 2011
  2. coffee_junkie

    coffee_junkie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    How about just ordering some TQ online?
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2011
  3. Not to sound rude, but there's a phone number right on the package.  It may just be as simple as a phone call to them. [​IMG]
  4. cowgirl

    cowgirl Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member

    Good advice. They should be able to tell you the exact amount needed. [​IMG]
  5. I did call Carl's and the person that answered said that their customer base uses this cure for injecting and that  they don't deal with dry cure methods used by home users (home smokers). The person said that 1 tablespoon per 5 lbs sounds about right though. I got this information verbally over the phone and I am not be sure the person I talked to knew for sure. I feel more comfortable if I can get some independent confirmation/advice from an experienced curer/smoker on this forum.

    Anyway, putting aside for the moment the suggestions that I just toss the Carl's cure away and order some TQ or Hi-Mountain Cure on line, does anyone have any experience or knowlegable advice on using a cure containing 0.8% nitrite?

  6. meateater

    meateater Legendary Pitmaster SMF Premier Member

    Ask that salesman if he's ever had nitrate poisoning from poor advice. Especially in California they should have a MSDS on the product. You can't buy a keyring without a lead poisoning label on it there so what's up with FDA products?
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2011
  7. scarbelly

    scarbelly Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    I agree with Meateater - I would send a note with this info to BBally and see what he thinks on the quantities
  8. You have proably already checked this out but I noticed that it had a web site that says Reciepes and more, maybe they have something to say on there say for a resturant user who might not being the using it to inject, if you have not already you might see what you can find there, if that does not give you some information I would check with BBally as Scarbelly suggested.  If he can't tell you I would order some Tender Quik on line, that stuff is to dangerous to just use what some salesman said!   I  don't want you to get sick or die because of it!  Those nitrate poisoning can effect the heart and kill you real quick! Don't take any chances my friend!

  9. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Just want to let you know I am looking up how to convert percentage to ppm.    Cure 1 is 6.25% nitrite in salt.  US Food and Safety when making cure mixes or solutions you should follow these guidelines for maximums.

    Immersion Cure  200 ppm      Comminuted (sausages)   156 ppm       Dry Cured  625 ppm

    There is no minimum nitrite level but 40 - 50 ppm is generally accepted as the minimum amount of nitrite required to have some preservative effect.

    We tend to use maximum allowable amounts of nitrites in our cures knowing that 100% of the nitrites will not enter the meat.  Notice the amounts required for sausages where you can expect more of the curing agent to be incorporated into the mixture.

    I am trying to find the ppm to percentage calculation.  I know it but do not want to post without checking, its early and I have  had less then a single cup of coffee.  I'll check back when I find it if you don't get better info before then.

  10. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Ok, lets take a shot at the math.  

    Recommend amounts of cure 1 for sausages is 4 oz of cure 1 per 100 bs meat to get to  156 ppm

    Cure 1 is 6.25% nitrite   so      4oz X .0625 = 0.25oz nitrite

    0.25 oz nitrite / 1600 oz meat  =  .00015625    or 156.25 ppm

    You are beginning with a cure that contains 8% nitrite so the calculations are:

    ?  x 0.08 = .25oz      ? is the amount of cure needed to provide 0.25oz nitrite

    ? = 3.125 oz       you will need 3.125 oz of your cure to provide the 156 ppm nitrite in sausages.

    This math is confirmed by the simple calculation

    4 oz x .0625 = ? x .08

    0.25 = ? x .08

    3.125 = ?

    Use these calculations to determine the amount of your cure required for you application.    REMEMBER that you can not substitite Nitrate and Nitrite in these calculations.  If the only recipe you have is for Tenderquick these calculations are useless.  Find a recipe that calls for Cure 1 and these calculations are accurate.

  11. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Awesome Al!!

    You some kinda scientist or what??

    (waves ged)

     Have a great day!

    Last edited: Feb 2, 2011
  12. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member


    I did sleep in a Holiday Inn last night!

  13. Thanks for the formula but I don't think I can use it as is. The cure has only 0.8% nitrite (less than 1%) and I am looking to use it for pork butt and not sausage. Would a revised formula be available that determines how many tablespoons of this cure would be needed to dry cure 5 lbs of pork butt meat?
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2011
  14. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Sorry I missed that, seems like you are going to get a lot of salt and sugar no matter what you do.

    So the proper amount is 31.25 ozs per hundred lbs for sausage to get the nitrite correct.  Same calculations, did they say what the proportion of salt is to sugar.  Everything else is the same, did you find a recipe for buckboard bacon that uses Cure 1?

    I thought you bought a specialty cure so 8% didn't seem unreasonable.  You purchased a curing mix where the total amount of nitrite was 0.8%.    Purpose of the post was to give you a basic example of the math involved not knowing how familiar you are with using different cures.   Like I said I may have stayed in a Holiday Inn but I had only had 1 cup of coffee at the time,  

    Sorry for the confusion.

  15. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    In reference to your most recent post what will throw you off is the proportion of salt to sugar.  Tell me the recipe you intend to use and I will try to help.  Your first problem is finding a dry cure recipe for a whole pork butt that doesn't require Cure 2 and 14 days of cure time

    If you want to slice the butt into 1 to 1.5 inch thick slices you can cure it like you would dry cure bacon.  The additional surface area will allow the cure to penetrate the meat faster and more efficiently.  You can use nitrites in a dry cure for sliced pork butt.  I am afraid that to cure a solid piece of meat like a whole butt or loin you will need either a brine and injection or a longer period dry cure that includes Nitrates   Cure 2
  16. My plan was to remove the bone, cut the butt in half, and dry cure it for the appriate amount of time before smoking.  I believe that this is the most common way to make buckboard bacon. My hope is that it would look like the below picture in the end. Gosh that picture looks good.

    I thought that the proportion of salt to sugar would only affect the saltiness/taste of the bacon and not how much cure to use for a certain size of meat and that the % nitrite is the only thing that determines how much cure to use for a certain size of meat. That is what I thought anyway... but I am still learning.

    Last edited: Feb 2, 2011
  17. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    I wasn't going to jump in here, because I don't have 30 years experience, but I'll take a chance and give you my opinion:

    I would trash that stuff, because nobody on this forum seems to have ever used it, and I wouldn't go by what some unknown person on the phone says.

    Then I would get some TQ, or cure #1, and go by what the books, and a lot of successful SMF smokers have recorded from many, many cure & smokes.

    Most good sized butts that I have smoked seemed to be about 3 1/2" to 4 1/2" thick at the thickest point, so if I was going to use TQ, without wanting to worry about having to inject, I would slice the butts in half lengthwise, making them 1 3/4" to 2 1/4" thick. Then I would treat them like pieces of pork belly. I would give them at least 7 days (personally I would do 8 or 9) of curing time, after rubbing 1/2 ounce of TQ on each pound. I would measure each piece, and carefully measure how much TQ to use with each piece. Any cure that would fall off, I would make sure to throw that in the bag with the piece it was measured for. That way the proper weighed amount of cure ends up with the piece it was weighed and measured for.

    I would throw between 1 tsp & 1 TBS of brown sugar in with each pound, but that amount is not important---Only the amount of cure is important.

    BTW: I have used TQ on whole butts, but they were only about 3" thick. In my opinion, if the butt is over 3", I would either inject (along with dry rubbing), or I would slice in half like I explained above. For BBB I would prefer to slice in half, instead of injecting.

  18. Bearcarver,

    I am going to go with your suggestion to use a cure that is more commonly used by members of this forum. Either the Hi-Mountain or TQ. I initially thought that I would be able to quickly confirm the proper dose for the 0.8% cure that I was able to buy locally, but apparently not. While I don't like to toss out perfectly good cure, it isn't worth spending so much time and effort on this. I would rather spend the time smoking...[​IMG].

    Thanks to all that chipped in with comments and advice.
  19. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member


    I'm not saying that stuff you bought was no good, and couldn't be used, but like you say, it's not worth the effort.

    There's a whole lot of recipes on here that will work.

    BTW---Another opinion----Some say TQ is too salty. I have made many Bacons with TQ, and I have used Hi Mt on BBB & on Belly Bacon, and the Hi Mt were the only ones I had to soak & soak to get rid of the salty taste. Many others have not had that happen with Hi Mt BBB cure & Seasoning, but my main point is "I have never made anything with TQ that was too salty".

    Don't forget the Qview, no matter what you decide!

  20. bbally

    bbally Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    First Bear is correct.  You should start with different cure.  I would also recommend it since you did not possess the knowledge of how to use this product you don't have the experience to know if everything I am about to tell you is happening.

    The dose is 3.6 ounces per 5 pounds of product using a straight nitrate cure at 0.8 percent (.008).

    The real problem with trying to use this product is the lack of nitrite in your cure mix.  Without any of it you will not get nitrite protection until the bacteria colonies get high enough to convert the nitrate to nitrite..... very difficult to know if you are fermenting at the correct levels for proper protection.  That is why Cure 2 and TQ has nitrite in with the nitrate.. to give you protection before and during the fermentation ramp up.  This product does not have that feature.

    That said if you now how to watch the fermentation rates and know sour meat needs to  be discarded you can apply this product at 3.6 ounces per 5 pounds and make ham.